Sunday, July 23, 2006

digital inclusion | mobile research in developing countries


At the AIGA National Design Conference earlier this year, MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte announced the very near release of the $100 laptop, nicknamed ‘the green machine’ still in prototype form and scheduled for production within the next calendar year. Extending mobile technology from the traditional audience into a new and literally developing community has been a focus for many academic and corporate giants. This is a great step in providing computing access to previously un-connected communities worldwide.

In that light, Microsoft Research announced a new research funding initiative called Digital Inclusion through Mobile and Wireless Technologies to “explore and invent new technologies” for mobile devices, technologies and connectivity for underserved communities on a global level.

“There has been growing recognition that the power of computing and information technology must be, and can be, extended beyond its traditional user base to reach people who until now have not had access to such technology. Being digitally connected has become ever more critical to economic, educational, and social advancement. The term �Digital Inclusion� is used in this document to describe the goal of expanding the capabilities of computing technology worldwide to better serve social and economic challenges of underserved communities, both rural and urban.”

Funding will be based on some of these goals: novel and creative solutions, immediate relevance, potential for economic impact, dissemination and communication, and pilot deployment. If you are pondering your direction for 2006, and would like to submit your proposal to Microsoft Research, they are still accepting applications through January 10th, 2006. Selection and distribution of funds will be made by February 10th, 2006.

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